Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Living as Sheep Among Wolves

Today we learned about working in a country where there is persecution and it was sobering, I can't really think of another word that describes it. We were taught how to make sure that they suffer persecution only for the "Son's" sake, and not because they are associated with us or items that we gave them. We heard awful stories of what can go wrong, even with the best intentions, if you are not cautious in your dealings with people in these countries. He shared about how in one country he brought in medicine, food and supplies to a group of people and when their leaders found out they cut off the ears of all the men and were abusive to all of the women, he was mortified (can you even imagine?) and talked about how the enemy can use experiences like that to guilt you into silence. That would definitley be a hard one to overcome! Also, we were reminded that persecution for the believer is to be expected especially if you listen to the Son's words and look into the work of the men in Acts. It is such a foreign concept to us Americans.

They also recommended a book called the Heavenly Man by Brother Yun, it is an excellent book on the persecution of our family members. But they also mentioned that people where he is from are now upset with him because he named some names and revealed things in the book that have caused the persecution to increase! Yikes! It is so complexand twisted that it boggles the mind.

One last thing, this man has just finished interviewing about 600 family members in these closed countries and in one country that is extremely isolated the members there wondered if Americans had gotten to hear about the Son yet......can you believe that? They had been praying for other countries and were concerned about us, amazing! Sometimes I wonder how far our beliefs are off and completely affected by our culture, especially when you realize what so many in our family are having to endure to follow the CEO, it truly costs them everything. I mean we have people having a cow if the sermon isn't over by noon!! Good grief!! What wimps we can be!

I urge you to ponder these things, I have so much more to share regarding their take on the Matthew 2 Christmas passage....it will blow your mind. I guaruntee you have never thought of that story like this, it glaringly shows the differences in their lives and ours. Thanks for taking the time to read.
Oh, tomorrow is Shot day #2, please pray that all will go well.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Juu Yesu!!

I am fresh off of a GREAT worship experience done African style! Needless to see it was very upbeat and lively. Men sat on chairs on either side of the room and women and children sat on the floor (I was feeling all forty of my years!!). We had an aisle open down the middle and the children came in after us and sang and danced with their shakers singing an African song that they had learned earlier, it was really special. A former TCK from Africa led us in several songs, we were clapping, jumping, and doing a little step that they do to one of their worship songs, it was so much fun. Then he gave a message by quoting Luke 15 by memory in an African accent, most of Africa is an oral society so we were not allowed to open our Bibles, just listen. My kids loved it.

Marshall was not with us tonight, he and several of the youth class took a two hour drive to Norfolk to attend Winter Jam (a concert). One of the j-men from our quad and another j-girl were their chaperone's, he was so excited. I thought it was extremely generous of our director to allow them to go as they usually want you to be present for all activities. He is totally into Toby Mac right now and since Toby was going to be there he was pumped! Yo', my son the Mac Daddy!?! Haha

We took the kids to several International Markets yesterday (Hudson missed his field trip since he was sick) and they were very enlightening! We tried some fresh items that they had for sale up by the register and while some were not bad other were, let's just say......"I'm not used to them yet!!!" :) But they did get these really cool sodas that come in a bottle and it has a marble on top that you push down when you open it and the marble stays in the top half of the bottle while you drink and then plugs up the hole when it tilts so that it doesn't spill, pretty cool but as far as the taste they said....."We're not used to it yet!" I guess it runs in the family, and I am a little more fearful of what we face as a family in only a month and a half, we might come back a lot skinnier......not that that would hurt!

Sometimes it seems like I have so much I want to say but since you each have a life to lead I'll end it here and save it for another time. Thanks again for the prayers, we are grateful! I missed all 9 hours of our doctrine classes so I am really looking forward to getting back into everything. This week's focus is the persecuted "businesses", it should be very interesting.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Yep.....it's Strep!!

Well, this week has been interesting, Campbell came home from school one day because her stomach hurt (she was totally faking it but I think she was tired and just wanted some "Mommy time", and so that's okay:)). Then Thursday evening Hudson was all sad and limpy and said he didn't feel well. One thing I haven't shared is that the flu and strep have been rampant here. Several families have missed lots of sessions as illnesses have gone through their quads. A 5yr old boy in our quad had the flu and I braced myself as I figured it was our turn. I took Hudson to a Dr. in Richmond who confirmed he had strep and precribed a one dose antibiotic.......side note: if a Dr ever suggests that, I don't recommend it. He took it and within 2 hours he was doubled over, it was way too hard on his stomach. The boy slept from 3:30pm until 6:30am! However, today he is completely fine and I have the privelege of taking him and the other kids to get their blood drawn!! Another fun activity for the kids......and the parents:( Haddon had another melt down before the needle but was again fine during it, go fig!

So I missed three days of classes all in all and feel a little out of the loop. Barry is watching the kids tonight so I can go to the movie that is showing, The End of the Spear, so I will get to visit and catch up with friends. Thanks for the prayers and encouraging notes, they mean more than you know!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Shot Day

Thank you for the prayers!!! We picked up the kids early from school, walked to the clinic, and everyone was in a great mood. We walk into the clinic, Hudson goes first and takes it like a man, Haddon then completely melts into a puddle before she even goes in (they take us one at a time, with me with each kid). She is holding her arms and freaking out when she gets on the stool then she calms down completely and smiles as she gets her shots and says, "I thought they would hurt!" Campbell and Marshall were cool as cucumbers, so now no one will get Japanese Encephalitis (whew!!) Oh, and Barry and I didn't cry either even though we had to get two shots! After that they got candy, face paintings (Campbell asked to be a white tiger!?) and then made bean shakers to be used during African worship next Sunday. All in all, a success! Thanks again!

Monday, February 16, 2009

I'm just not used to it yet.....

So the "non-cooking" cooking class was about food and talked some about cooking overseas. They basically told us that due to what they feed the animals or use for fertilizer, things just don't taste the same there that they do here. Some recipes just won't translate because their seasonings may not taste the same as ours, etc. It was informative and eye opening in ways. I especially liked the part about weevils in our flour.........it's gonna be fun!! Haddon's teacher is teaching the class to say, "I'm just not used to it yet", instead of "yuck, that's gross" etc. So as far as rocks and dirt in my rice and bugs in my flour.....I'm just not used to it yet! :)

Last week we also heard from some MIR's who were really open about their struggles and successes on the field, it was very good as they were gut wrenchingly honest and I think it was things that we all needed to hear.

We are also going through the book of Acts and applying it to our work and that has been very good as well.

Last night was our region's Cultural Worship Experience and it was SO much fun! We sang in our new language as well as others and Barry sang in the Praise Team. Four countries and their languages were represented in the service and then a new "M" who is Australian gave his very powerful testimony. Our family got to stand at the door and greet everyone when they came in with a cultural greeting and asking them to remove their shoes, they really had fun with that.

And lastly be in prayer as "shot day" is tomorrow! We all have to get them and probably several in each arm, although they do them at the same time to make it go fast and they also have face painting, balloons, and candy for the kids to make it as nice as possible. This is the first of three shot clinics that we have, so pray that all goes well with the first one!

Hope everyone had a great Valentine's Day and Happy Birthday to my Mom!!!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


We have had some great classes in the past couple of days and although some of it I can't share and some of it, if I did share, wouldn't make sense to you "in code", let me just say that the CEO is at work around the world and it is exciting to hear about!

We are learning how to share the Manual in "contextualization". Making it fit into their culture so that they can understand it and respond to it. Just like how Paul took the message and applied it to the Greek culture so that Gentiles and Greeks could respond without conforming to Jewish culture. So then, the Manuals words, "become all things to all men" takes on an even deeper meaning. Say you share the words in the manual where the CEO's son says "Behold I stand at the door and knock..." and in that culture only thieves knock on the door all others clap as they approach a door? Essentially, they then associate the CEO's son as a THIEF!! Not quite the message you were trying to share is it? So we learn to put things into their cultural setting so that it makes sense to them, but never changing the message, just the cultural cues. I love learning this kind of stuff because I am always interested in people and how they work or why they do what they do. It is so eye opening when you learn how very different each culture is and the differences are so deep seated it is mind-boggling!

One of our classes was how to go into a location and find a person of peace who is receptive to our message and then go from there. So we divided into "villages" and some were the "M's", some were the persons of peace, while the rest of us were the villagers, of which some wanted to be their friends because they were from America, or had other motives, or were even hostile. It was hysterical to watch them sort through the people to find the one who was actually interested for the right reason. Sometimes it seems like the task is going to be overwhelming but then again you realize you are dependant on the CEO, and he will guide you.

Marshall is doing a book report on and "M" named Jonathon Goforth and Hudson is doing one on Hudson Taylor. They both enjoyed their books and are still having a great time here. Marshall's class went on a field trip to the company's headquarters and they were given some cool gifts by our regional office, they met the company president and then they took them out for Vietnamese food........now, if you know Marshall, he is not real adventurous with food but to his credit, he tried it. He liked the rice :) and the spring roll but was not so crazy about the curry dish he ordered. There are a couple of guys in their twenties in our quad who have really reached out to the boys and take them to play soccer and ultimate Frisbee with them, they love that, it makes them feel cool!:) They are a great influence on them as well as they are guys who really have great hearts.

Campbell and Haddon are still doing well they love being around their friends all the time and seem to always end up around the piano after dinner, well, Campbell is at the piano......Haddon stands in front of the podium as if everyone is gathered there to see her! We have a large swing set right outside our quad and they love to play on it everyday after school.

Well, I am off to take a "cooking on the field" class, but they told us not to think that it was about cooking!! Huh?! So I am off to the "non-cooking, cooking on the field" class. I'll inform you on that later! Don't forget to express your love to your loved ones....Valentines is right around the corner.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Doing what angels only dream of...

This comment was made about us from a former "M" and a current seminary professor who spoke to us for 6 hours today on "M" Anthropology 101. He said that what we are doing by telling those who have never heard about the CEO and his son are "doing what the angels only dream of. Now, I don't think too highly of myself nor do I feel as though we are on some higher plane than others because of what we have been called to do but I thought that statement was so cool. Today's session was so incredibly thought provoking! The more I learn here, the more I realize that there is so much more to learn!

I remember when people asked me what we would be doing here for 8 weeks, I really didn't know. What could they possibly need 8 weeks to teach us.......well, a lot! There is so much to think about when you realize that you are taking the Manual into a place that has no frame of reference for it in their society. So our illustrations, our examples won't translate into their culture so we have to rethink what and how we will take the message to them. Some cultures are shame based, some are guilt based and others are fear based, can you see how you would need different approaches to those societies? How will that factor into our message to them? Then you have all of the cultural issues, do you look them in the eye or not? As a woman is it culturally acceptable for you to talk to a man without your husband present? As Americans we are appalled at that last statement, we should be able to talk to whoever we please and yes we should always look them in the eye! But what if the culture you are going to says if a woman looks a man in the eye that she is being "sexual" or if she talks to a man, without her husband present, that she is desiring a "different" relationship with him, takes on a whole new meaning doesn't it? Lot's to think about and consider. I'm sure I'll be writing more on this later as I process all this info.

Well last night was a rousing celebratory worship experience led by the Hispanic, Latin America team. The whole thing was in Spanish but we did have a translator for the message. The music was lively with a lot of clapping (like I like :)). The kids were a little unsure of what to expect but they really enjoyed themselves. Next week it will be our country combined with a "large South Asian country". It will be even more different as there are many more cultural differences involved.

Have to quit for now, I will write more later if I get a chance.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


If you guessed we had a class on Language Learning you would be right! The man that lead it spoke French as well as at least two African languages. He explained to us about how to go about learning a new language and how it involves the mouth cavity, the vocal chords and the nose. It was a very interesting class and he had absolutely hysterical examples of language learning gone bad. We really have to get in the mindset that for a time we will be talking like two year olds in our new language. We have to be able to laugh at ourselves and not get upset when they laugh at us when we say something wrong. He said one time he told a man in Africa, "I hope you family leaves", when he meant to say, "I hope your family is well". Also we need to remember that sometimes they know just enough English for them to get by as well such as an officer who pulled him over for stopping in a parking lot (?) he knew how to say, "Geeve me mooneey".

So for about three hours we practiced saying sounds and feeling where our tongue was positioned in our mouths and whether or not our nose and vocal chords were used. I wish I had video of that class, it was a riot. We have a group of people that are pretty funny.

On to today's news, this is our last free Saturday for a while as we will need to attend classes on ESL and some others. But we started today with the FIRE ALARM!! They warn you when you get here that the fire alarms are super sensitive so we are warned to watch the microwave popcorn and the steam from the shower as the FD has to come out regardless. Well, I was putting Pop-tarts in the toaster, the same toaster I have used often here and today it completely blackened them and was pouring out smoke while I was in the.........SHOWER!!! So I hear the noise (and the kids screams) and rush out. I take the toaster toss it outside and called security who assured me that the FD was on it's way. I was so embarrassed, here I am with my head in a towel and we had to get everyone up and out of the building. A friend of ours from a neighboring quad came and got Haddon as she was completely freaking out in her little footed jammies!! What a morning!! We are looking forward to worship tomorrow it will be from Latin America. I'll post more later!!

Friday, February 6, 2009


Well, that got your attention didn't it? Yes, today we had the session where we learned about all the trouble with different types of food and the water supply....or lack thereof. It is amazing all the ways you can spell "really, really sick" that ends in "..tosis". It can be a little overwhelming sitting through an hour long session with the medical team discussing all of the ailments that can and probably will happen on some level because of different sanitation issues. But I am very grateful that they do all they can to keep us safe and healthy, we are well provided for and will even be given free water purifiers, counter top as well as a travel packs, by a sister organization.

They even had a cute little video clip that said you can't eat cow because of mad cow, you can't eat chicken because of the bird flu, you can't eat eggs because of salmonella, you can't each fish because of mercury, you can't eat vegetables because of the fertilizer, so I guess that leaves...CHOCOLATE!! That was about how I felt after hearing that talk.

We also had a great class on Culture Shock and trying to take care of ourselves in the middle of all this stress. This speaker is very good and also very funny, he has spoken to us before and he cracks me up! So that was a nice stress reliever even though we were discussing stress....if that makes sense. :)

After dinner we had Kid's Poster Night where all the kids from each quad got together to make a poster that represented their families. Ours has a huge OU on it and because we are trying to be kind "to the least of these" a Texas Tech logo, hopefully the Parsley family is not reading this!! The kids are at Open Gym night right now, they have started these where we can drop them off to play supervised and come get them in an hour and a half. They love it and it gives us a chance to catch up on our reading, paperwork and, ahem.....blogs!!

Marshall loves working on his power point presentation on the computer and Hudson is really enjoying his projects, the girls are all journaling and Haddon even got to make a small snowman with her class, they took a picture and gave it to us in a little card, so cute! Campbell has a little friend "T" who is going to Africa and she has been eating with us as much as she can, she's really sweet.

Time to pick up the kids, please continue to lift us up in prayer, we need all that we can get!! Thank you!!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Too tired to think of a clever title!!

Well, today was cheery, that whole Malaria session was one exciting class!! Oh my, I learned more than I cared to and although it was necessary it was UGH to listen to. We will be required to take preventative medication for it and so we will be able to "try it out" while we are here so we can figure out if we will have negative side effects........uh, the example of what "could" happen in "only rare" cases was not a fun thought! Apparently one of the side effects more common is vivid scary dreams.......woohoo, where do I sign up?!! So just as an added prayer request, pray that we all get through that just fine.

It has been a typical busy week here and we have had roughly 15 hours of teaching on Sp. W--fare in the past three days. I would give anything for these sessions to go out to churches across America. You know, we think of that topic and often our mind goes straight to the sensational, creepy stories and while those do happen, everyday as a believer we deal with some form of this although we don't always recognize it. The thought was that sometimes what we are called to can be hard and difficult as we try to adjust culturally and learn the language so we may be tempted to make the "easy" choice and not go out and engage the people. We may decide to stay home more often and so then we become ineffective and not a threat at all, and then "s" has won. We also were made to be totally aware of all that it may cost to be obedient and we heard several testimonies of colleagues who have paid the ultimate price and then "the rest of the story" as we heard all that the CEO has been able to do through those types of events. Very, very sobering, but also very confirming that everything we may "sacrifice" is worth it in the end. Of course we would hope that would not be required of us, and it puts in in a different light when you consider your family, but I truly believe that we must be willing.

We were also challenged in the area of denying ourselves and our rights to certain comforts for the sake of the call. So do I let people be permanently separated from the CEO just because they don't use the type of toilet I do? Or because their food seems strange to me? Or because I don't have a washer or fridge as I am accustomed to? Or the worst.....they don't have Dr. Pepper, GASP!! How very spoiled of me to think my comfort would be worth that!

So onto lighter subjects, we had a Ladies Tea with several women from the company and it was a very special time......because they had desserts!! Hahaha Seriously, it was very special as we shared requests and had a great time lifting those up for each other. But we don't have dessert here other than fruit which is great but sometimes a girl needs her chocolate!!

Well, I need to run but that gets you a little caught up on our life. Blessings to you!!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Random thoughts and updates

I have found it increasingly difficult to find time to post on my blog lately. We have random wireless in our quad, it is actually not suppose to be in there but sometimes if you are lucky it shows up, the problem is you never know how long it will last. I have made it up to the computer lab a couple of times but with four kids with me I usually do what needs to be done and don't stay long.

Friday was Personal Retreat day and it was a wonderful time to be alone for a few hours and read what our CEO had to say to each of us and then we came back for a great, moving and inspiring time of sharing. Our director said before some of us even attempted our personal retreat we may need to get some rest......I took that as a sign that he was talking to me!! I was so tired and after a short nap I was able to focus so much more on what I was going to do.

Our class went longer on Friday but we had to leave early because we had a parent/teacher meeting with Hudson's teacher as well as all the other parents of 3rd and 4th graders. It was a great time of sharing about our child and hearing about the goals he had for them, oh, and we also heard that the guinea pig that they were responsible to care for had died! We joked about how they only took care of him for three days before he died but then found out he was old so apparently it was "Snickers" time to go. One of the boys went to go feed him and he came back and said, "Is he suppose to be still like that?". HAhaha Poor kid! I believe they are going to purchase a new animal for their class. They have quite a few animals in the school and even a talking parrot named "Richard", he says about 10 different phrases and is really pretty funny.

On a funny note, Campbell has a little friend and when she was telling us her name we couldn't understand her and Barry said, "Her name is Pez?", and Campbell laughed as Barry mimicked as if he was her friend "Pez" and flipped his head back and said, "Would you like some candy?"!! It was hysterical as she feigned being angry and we basically had fun at her expense!!

Saturday we slept in and then got some cleaning supplies from Target, we got back and had lunch while Barry had a meeting, he is on the "Ev" team. Later the kids and I went to the gym and played volleyball with another mom and most of the older youth. We were TERRIBLE, but we had a blast. Then in the evening we went out for Mexican with our MIR Mentors ("M's" in residence), they are from our assignment country so it was great to hear from them.

You hear many exciting and many sobering things while you are here but the most is that you are very aware of the importance of the work we have to do. That in the midst of all the hard changes and challenges there are great rewards for complete obedience to the CEO.

Today we are about to have our cell meeting and then we have what they call "Cultural Worship" this evening and we will experience how they do cells around the world. I am really looking forward to that. We may run into town with a few other families just to relax together this afternoon. I have a meeting tonight as my "job" is to get the class materials together and display books that relate to the speaker's topics, or if they have some that they are giving away.

I will leave you with a few bits of info:

There are 330 people attending classes at the farm,
160 of those are children,
60 of those are preschool or younger.
TCK's or Third Culture Kids are kids who have a home culture but live in another culture and so don't always fit into either so they develop a "third culture". For further information you can go to www.tckid.com/group/ the guy is not a christian but his site has some good info.
With a few exceptions for some singles who live in the dorms, we all live in quads with a common living room. Ours is a three bedroom apartment and we have two single guys, a married couple with no children, and another couple with a 2 and 5 year old who share our quad. We all get along great.

Have great day and know that we miss and love you all!!